June 23, 2014
KLRCA International Arbitration Conference 2014 : Reflecting The Past Building the Future
KLRCA’s marquee program of the year, the much anticipated inaugural Kuching International Arbitration Conference [KIAC] 2014 saw a large turn out as ‘The Godfathers’, eminent and aspiring practitioners of the arbitration industry from around the globe as well as within the region, congregated in the exotic Island of Borneo to partake in a comprehensive three day symposium of deliberating the foundations of arbitration, scrutinizing the current state of the practice and forming roadmaps for the future.
The conference themed, ‘Reflecting the Past, Building the Future’ encompassed a balance of thought provoking discussions with exhilarating soirees, all emulsified in perfect tandem throughout the three days ensuring all delegates and speakers alike left Kuching with renewed avidity for arbitration along with freshly minted imprints of fond memories made over the course of the conference.
Having seen the cultured town of Kuching light up the night before as arbitrators from around the region trickled in via groups of fours and fives, many of whom who proceeded to acquaint themselves through collective dinner and drinks; the next morning saw a similar sense of buzzing within the town centre as more delegates flocked the registration counters in the conference’s official hotel to check in for the enthralling adventures that awaited them. Delegates were then taken to their respective trails around the city and its outskirts to experience and complete the four trails; ‘Survivor Course’, ‘Golf Tournament’, ‘Heritage Tour, and ‘Semenggoh Wildlife Centre and Kayaking’.
International delegates and speakers continued to fly into Kuching as the conference moved up a gear with the hosting of its cocktail reception and welcome dinner at the 136 year old historical Old Courthouse. Professor Datuk Sundra Rajoo, KLRCA’s Director got proceedings started with his welcoming address which was then followed by the charming and evergreen Tan Sri Dato’ V.C George taking stage on behalf of the evening’s sponsors to deliver an entertaining opening speech.
Day Two of the Kuching International Arbitration Conference got off to a ceremonious start as the Chief Justice of Malaysia, YAA Tun Arifin Bin Zakaria took time off from his busy schedule to officiate and launch KLRCA’s inaugural conference. His Excellency Professor Dr Rahmat Mohamad, Secretary General of Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO) was also on hand to deliver the welcoming address. Three gripping sessions were fitted into Friday’s proceedings; Session 1 – Rethinking the Notion of Confidentiality: The Need For Greater Arbitral Accountability, Session 2 – Balancing Party Autonomy In International Arbitration and Session 3 – Minimalist Judicial Intervention In Arbitration: Boon Or Bane? All of which sparked a series of institutionalized and absorbing discussions as the tentative delegates engaged their respective speakers onto enterprising debates.
As the sun set over the picturesque Sarawak, delegates were treated to an exclusive entry into the globally acclaimed spectacle, The Rainforest World Music Festival; as a motorcade of highly powered touring bikes led the busses out of Kuching city centre and into Sarawak’s Cultural Village at Mount Santubong. The conference delegates were taken up to the Bidayuh Long House for dinner followed by a front stage viewing of intriguing musical and dance performances from around the globe.
It was back to some serious business on the morning of Day Three as delegates gathered once more at the conference hall to witness eminent speakers taking stage to deliver their sterling presentations. Another three riveting sessions followed; Session 4 – Balancing The Scale: The Rise And Fall Of Investor Treaty Arbitration, Session 5 – Focus Group: Arbitration In Practice and Session 6 – Promoting A Fair, Economical And Effective Arbitration Regime: The Role Of Leading Arbitral Bodies. An engaging series of spirited dialogues followed each session before proceedings for the evening were concluded with the closing remarks.
The conference inched towards its pinnacle as the delegates and speakers were whisked away for a sunset cruise along the majestic Sarawak River before continuing to gather at the resplendent waterfront bay of Kuching for the Gala Dinner. It was the quintessential conclusion to a wonderful and fruitful conference as delegates were treated to cultural performances by the local tribes and a live band. A joyous night of endless networking and merry making amongst the delegates that went on until dawn the following day ensured the Kuching International Arbitration Conference 2014 came to a very satisfactory close.
* For a more in-depth and extensive coverage on the Kuching International Arbitration Conference, please look out for KLRCA’s upcoming newsletter edition (April to June 2014).